Language and Linguistics Seminar Series: Week 10 with Prof Ray Wilkinson

Indirectly targeted utterances in multiparty conversation

  • Thu 6 Dec 18

    12:00 - 14:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event speaker

    Prof Ray Wilkinson, University of Sheffield

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Language and Linguistics Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Language and Linguistics, Department of

  • Contact details

This week we are joined by Prof Ray Wilkinson, University of Sheffield, to talk about his recent research.

12-1pm Professor Wilkinson will take to the stage to deliver his talk, followed by a lunch provided by Language and Linguistics from 1pm-2pm.

We look forward to seeing you there: this event is open to all students and staff!


In this talk I will be analysing a type of utterance in multiparty conversation that can be described as ‘indirectly targeted’.  That is, while it is addressed to one co-participant (e.g. through the use of eye gaze and/or an address term), it is hearable as ‘targeting’ (e.g. accusing, joking about) another, non-addressed, co-participant. One reason this type of utterance is interesting is that it is difficult to categorize in terms of participant roles, such as those developed by Erving Goffman in his influential work on ‘Footing’; while the targeted participant is not the addressee, the utterance clearly has interactional implications for that participant which are not in play for other types of unaddressed participant.

Using a conversation analytic approach, and drawing on recordings of naturally occurring conversations, I will explore in particular (1) how these indirectly targeted utterances function in terms of social actions; (2) how they are designed for hearers to know (or not know) who is being targeted; and (3) what the participation implications are for recipients following these utterances.  A theme of the talk will be that in multiparty interactions utterances can be designed, used and responded to in ways which differ systematically from that seen in interactions involving two participants.              

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